Voting can make you feel included

Andrew Reynold's Oct. 19 opinion piece "Test your civic imagination," discussing the low voter turnout expected on Nov. 7 and listing some of the hurdles which people find daunting, was of great interest to me.

I find it absolutely astonishing that a citizen of the United States would not take advantage of the opportunity to exercise this precious freedom to vote. I have voted in every national election since attaining the voting age.

My husband and I, who are US citizens, are at present living in Canada. However, since our move, we have not missed voting by absentee ballot in the last three federal elections. We have a great love and respect for the privileges, freedoms, and responsibilities enjoyed by all citizens.

So, I urge those people who are not excited about certain candidates, or who think that what happens in elections is not important to them, to reconsider this position. Look at the issues that are important to you as responsible human beings; consider the positions and attitudes the candidates and their parties take, and the plans put forward by these parties. Find the ones that are not only important to you but also to the progress of our society and the world at large. Then exercise your choice, and take the half hour it may take to go vote! You will be surprised at how included you feel.

Carolyn W. Gahr Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Wary of global-warming concerns

Your Nov. 6 article "Europe: global warming preview?" raises questions about global warming. However, what you don't ask is when will global cooling occur?

We know of a number of Ice Ages in Earth's history, the most recent of which occurred as early as the 1500s. Each of these Ice Ages required global warming following them and global cooling preceding them.

So, when will the next global cooling come? Climate models, like numerical weather forecast models, have limitations. The climate models are worse than the short-term and seasonal weather forecast models.

Until we know what causes the natural global warming and cooling cycles and other events, short-term projections of tens and hundreds of years leave much to be desired. Science has a long way to go before it can tell us what the causes are.

We are beginning to learn what is going on but not why.

We need to place global warming in the proper context and not allow politicians and others to goad us into wrong thinking based on an incomplete understanding of our environment.

G. Stanley Doore Silver Spring, Md.

Online teaching no substitute

As a high-schooler taking several online courses as well as other distance-learning classes and several regular courses, I worry about students getting college degrees through online classes ("Every university has e-learning in its future," Oct. 31). For me, some online learning is necessary because I attend a small school where not all subjects are offered. But a major part of any schooling is the relationships you develop with teachers and other students - and you miss out on those when taking online courses.

A chat room can't come close to duplicating a classroom discussion. However well formatted, an online lecture doesn't give you the opportunities to ask questions in the middle of it.

Online learning should be used as a supplement when live classes are not available. But it is not an acceptable substitute.

Nora Matell Bridgeport, Calif.

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